Children who form no racial stereotypes found

Prejudice may seem inescapable, but scientists now report the first group of people who seem not to form racial stereotypes.

Children with a neurodevelopmental disorder called Williams syndrome (WS) are overly friendly because they do not fear strangers. Now, a study shows that these children also do not develop negative attitudes about other ethnic groups, even though they show patterns of gender stereotyping found in other children. "This is the first evidence that different forms of stereotypes are biologically dissociable," says Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, director of the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, who led the study published today in Current Biology1.

[quote="Ahimsa, post:1, topic:194460"]

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People who grow up to be outgoing and social and who are nearly incapable of being racist? And they call that a disorder? :confused:

[quote="Pat_Payne, post:2, topic:194460"]
People who grow up to be outgoing and social and who are nearly incapable of being racist? And they call that a disorder? :confused:

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LOL! I thought the same thing!

Jesus taught us; "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18:3)

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Pecatoribus!

mark

What does "biologically dissociable" mean?

I think the disorder is the naivety, and mental retardation, of the children.

Of course, racial prejudice is irrational and wrong. However, fear of strangers is a survival instinct which is still important. Not all strangers mean you harm, but some will act their interests at the cost of your own.

[quote="St_Francis, post:5, topic:194460"]
What does "biologically dissociable" mean?

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It seems to mean that the children who had no racial stereotypes, still had gender stereotypes. Thus, racial stereotyping and gender stereotyping are "dissociable", are different sorts of stereotyping, and probably are not the result of a generic "stereotyping" ability.

This is indeed interesting, and makes sense at a fundamental level. Race is a way to classify what are really just arbitrary sets of physical attributes, unlike gender, whose attributes are intrinsically part of our human nature (i.e., we can change the “boundaries” between races licitly, say if it serves some practical purpose (forensics, etc), but we cannot make "male and “female” mean whatever we want, because they don’t).

Stereotypes originated from the reflexive mental processing which allowed our ancestors to tell friend from foe reflexively, without having to ponder about it. The problematic part of stereotyping is when they persist into the thinking and pondering process, when they are no longer needed. It would be possible (although perhaps unlikely) for racial stereotypes to disappear completely if they induced no survival advantage. There is nothing intrinsic about race; if the concept has no use, we can ignore it. In some sense, we can hope that in the distant future we all have this disorder. But as masculinity and femininity are intrinsic to ourselves, this cannot happen in the case of gender. Or should not; I suppose a much more severe disorder could rid one of the reflexive recognition of something deeply innate (and the ability to learn problematic distinctions between them).

[quote="manygift1spirit, post:8, topic:194460"]
Race is a way to classify what are really just arbitrary sets of physical attributes, unlike gender, whose attributes are intrinsically part of our human nature (i.e., we can change the "boundaries" between races licitly, say if it serves some practical purpose (forensics, etc), but we cannot make "male and "female" mean whatever we want, because they don't).

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hmmm.... maybe. However, the study doesn't say that. Its possible that the distinction between male and female is part of upbringing, with the the difference between mother and father being stressed as important very early in the child's life. To test whether the upbringing or genetics is involved, the author of the study wants to next investigate children who are raised in families with same-sex parents.

[quote="Dale_M, post:9, topic:194460"]
hmmm.... maybe. However, the study doesn't say that. Its possible that the distinction between male and female is part of upbringing, with the the difference between mother and father being stressed as important very early in the child's life. To test whether the upbringing or genetics is involved, the author of the study wants to next investigate children who are raised in families with same-sex parents.

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There definitely can be, indeed are, attitudes, etc learned through upbringing. My point was simply that there exist distinctions of gender which are far more fundamental than any of those of race. So it is not surprising that in a particular neurological disorder might cut the way that one does. Although in some sense, my point isn't terribly compelling: there very well might be a disorder which has the opposite effect. But that wouldn't prove anything of course (neither does this one). It would be more surprising though.

[quote="Mark77, post:4, topic:194460"]
Jesus taught us; "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 18:3)

[/quote]

The study said that most children do form racial stereotypes. Only the children with this disorder do not. Further, these children still form gender stereotypes.

[quote="Pat_Payne, post:2, topic:194460"]
People who grow up to be outgoing and social and who are nearly incapable of being racist? And they call that a disorder? :confused:

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Yes.
Xenophobia has survival value.
For 99.9999% of human history "stranger" and "enemy" have been synonymous.

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